Located on the front lawn of the Sevier County Courthouse is this lovely statue of a young Dolly Parton, sitting on a rock and playing guitar.
Dolly is kind of a patron saint of this area of the Smoky Mountains. Besides her incredible success in the music and movie industries, she has also been responsible for much of the tourism - which means the creation of jobs and continuing income - to the area with her Dollywood theme park, Dixie Stampede dinner theatre, and lending her name to many other events and activities which bring the tourists flocking.
The first day of our honeymoon, and my new husband had reserved a Zipline tour for us - FUN! NOT cheap [~ $65 (including tax)], but since we got one free for booking our cabin (see Pigeon Forge tip re: Intimate Hideaway), it wasn't as bad.
Reservation system is not the best - we arrived about 20 minutes before our 2pm reservation, and still we were not sent up to the first tower until about 2:45pm. But once we got up there, it was fantastic! You are sent up with two guides and a group of no more than 10 people (depending on how busy they are). One guide precedes you to the next tower; the second guide hooks you up to the two-cable line, and, after some instruction, you are sent down the line. The first guide "catches" you and releases you from that line, then prepares you for the next. A simple system, really, and I cannot stress how much FUN it was!
There was a wide age gap in our little group - kids, adults, and one grandmother. You must release on your own - they will not "push" you. When you are ready, you will cross your legs, keep one "brake" hand on the cable behind you, and let gravity do the rest!
Adventure Park Ziplines has four towers, which took us about an hour to complete. The final track is the longest, and the one where they take your photo (see attached). I HIGHLY recommend the activity! WOO HOO!!
Very cool - literally! Inside the Forbidden Caverns it is 58 degrees year round! Admission is $14/adult, but look for the $1 admission coupon in every tourist booklet. Worth the admission fee - a guided tour underground includes stops at a HUGE onyx wall, underground river, moonshine still, and lots and lots of bats! Tour takes about 1 hour.
We live nearby and some of the family just visited us. They wanted to skip Dollywood and do some other stuff this trip. We haven’t gone horse back riding in quite a while and our kids said they heard this place has nice horses. They were right, the horses were great, you can tell when people care about their animals. It’s right on the main highway downtown, but the trails take you into the mountains, beautiful, quiet and the views were awesome. Our guide was super experienced, really made it a fun afternoon. They’re building a new zipline course there too. Don’t know when it will be done, but it looks real professional. Huge steel towers and lines, probably not something I’m gonna do, but I’m sure we’ll be back to check it out when it opens.
This museum is Tennessee's official repository and archive for aviation history and the home of the Tennessee Aviation Hall of Fame.
Featured are airworthy warbird aircraft displayed in a patriotic setting.
Sitting directly in front of the Sevier County Courthouse is a statue of the county's favorite daughter, Dolly Parton. A plaque beneath the statue reads: DOLLY - This statue of Dolly Parton was erected through the generosity of the people of Sevier County, Decicated May 3, 1987. I once heard Dolly interviewed on nationwide television when she said that of all the many honors she has received in her life, this statue erected by her hometown friends is the one which she cherishes most.
Those who know Dolly only superficially sometimes are not able to see beyond her show-business persona. But behind those silicone enhanced hooters beats the heart of an extremely intelligent woman, astute in business and generous to the core. She is highly respected in Sevier County not only because of her awesome talent or because she is the best known person to ever come from these hills. Her local business enterprises have provided employment to hundereds of local people, and her foundation has done much to raise the level of literacy in this once backwoods mountain community.
I identify with Dolly because she and I both come from East Tennessee families of 12 children. Also, her grandfather and my father were both Church of God preachers. Even though I have never met Dolly personally, I was acquainted with several of her family members when I lived in Sevierville. For one summer, when they both were both much younger, Dolly dated my older brother, Philip.
We list this as a "Must See" instead of a "Shopping" tip because of the many times we have been here, we have done much more looking than shopping. More than just a shop, Smoky Mountain Knife Works is a great free museum. For starters there is an impressive display of more knives from around the world than you ever knew existed. What we find even more enjoyable is one of "the Southeast's largest displays of trophy wildlife, including a three dimensional African Water Hole, Moose, Polar and Grisly Bears, and a whole lot more.
With over 40,000 square feet, it is the "World's Largest Knife Showplace," featuring thousands of name brand cutlery items - all at discount prices. Jewelry, art prints, and camping equipment are also among the items for sale. They also do a large mail order business.
In Autumn the southern Appalachians are, in a word, Glorious. The air is brisk, the summer haze vanishes revealing cobalt blue skies, and the Maples, and Sourwood and Sweet Gum ... (actually the most diversified hardwood forest on earth) seems to turn as many different shades of color as there are trees.
Being at the gateway to the most visited National Park in the world, the Great Smoky Mountains, Sevierville is always crowded with tourists. And the busiest time of all is the fall color season. This generally occurs from mid-October through early November, although the season may vary a few days depending on the weather.
In addition to the natural splendor, many of the local businesses build seasonal displays to celebrate the season. Some of them can be quite extravagant. Being there is almost worth enduring the crowds.
Here's a tip from a former local. Come the first week in November. Maybe it's psychological, but after Halloween the crowds do drop off a bit. And early November can be just as beautiful as October.
I generally fancy the civic structures in America, from the White House and Capitol in Washington, the various state capitols in the 50 states, to the most local version in the numerous county seats -- the county courthouse. So long as you're not paying a ticket, these halls are generally very interesting works of art and the center of rural business in America.